Flexible working brings benefits for business finds research

Scots firms report range of benefits from offering flexible working. While separate research finds line managers are crucial to making it work.



Flexible working is good for business. That’s according to a new poll of Scottish companies.

Almost nine out of every 10 businesses reported that offering flexible working had a positive effect. Half went further and agreed it had a ‘very positive’ impact on their firm.

YouGov surveyed 257 Scottish business leaders for the research carried out for Family Friendly Working Scotland.

Employers reported the benefits of offering flexible working include increased productivity among workers (37%) and better staff retention (40%).

Nearly a third reported fewer staff were off sick, while other benefits included increased profit (17%) and better employee mental health and wellbeing (40%).

Separate survey data from YouGov for Family Friendly Working Scotland showed that 53% of workers in Scotland work flexibly while a further fifth (19%) do not but would like to do so.

That last group might be interested in the latest research from charity Working Families which showed line managers are key to enforcing, or blocking a flexible working culture.


Working Families conducted a voluntary benchmarking exercise with employers representing 450,000 employees.

41% of employers surveyed analyse all jobs to determine the potential for flexibility before advertising vacancies. The Government is currently considering a requirement for employers to take a part-time and flexible-by-default approach to recruitment.

Almost two thirds of employers who took part in the Benchmark (64%) said that addressing their gender pay gap is their biggest opportunity for developing work-life balance in the coming year and the same number believe that the biggest barrier to flexibility in their organisation is a lack of line manager skills.

While 70% of employers surveyed provide training for line managers on managing flexible working, only 45% make this training compulsory. That means only around a third (31%) of organisations have trained more than half of their managers.

The charity also published a list of its Top Employers for Working Families. Winners were  American Express, the Crown Prosecution Service, Lloyds Banking Group, Pinsent Masons, Highlands& Islands Enterprise, Experian, DWF, RBS, Southdown Housing and Public Health England.

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